Protein+Fat=Happy Caronae

Today’s Happy Note: Crossing things off my to do list. ¬†I still have a lot to get done before this insane weekend, but I’m getting there. ūüôā

PS — Does anyone else add things to their to-do list that you have already done, just so you can experience the joy of crossing it out?

Marathon Training: Yesterday I did four and a half miles, with an easy mile and a half warm-up, 4x (400 fast/400 easy), and a mile cool down. ¬†It wasn’t terrible, but I just felt weak. ¬†Today, even more so. I feel lightheaded,blurry vision, etc. No idea what is going on, but I’ll be sure to monitor things and be careful.

I had my super easy yoga class today. We literally sat on chairs half the time and stretched. ¬†I’m taking it very easy this week, so this was perfectly acceptable.

I never told you about my endocrine visit on Monday! The doctor was extremely nice and extremely knowledgeable. ¬†She also seemed obscenely young (early thirties?) for a faculty practitioner (meaning she is a professor) which made me a bit nervous. ¬†She was very thorough. ¬†We talked about everything — diet, exercise, hormones, habits, genetics, blood sugar, endocrine/metabolic systems. ¬†She is running a really broad panel of tests to see if there is something significantly wrong. ¬†If nothing is found, then the “answer” is simply going to be that I have a little bit of a weird metabolic/hormonal system.

I am not freaking out as much as I was before though because of two things:

1. She basically told me that my weight “problem” actually isn’t a problem. ¬†Because of my healthy diet and exercise choices, being a few pounds over the recommended weight for my height isn’t a big deal. ¬†She was actually really soothing/comforting in this regard.

2. I have been making a conscious effort to eat more fat and protein lately and have lost seven pounds.  My period just ended, so some of this might be hormonal/water weight.  But still, seven pounds is a good chunk of my overall body weight.  I am hoping that continuing this eating pattern will help me lose a few more pounds.  But if not, I am not going to freak out.

I promise. ūüôā

So what have I been eating of late?

One carb I REFUSE to get rid of is oats (above: 1/4 C with 1/2 serving vanilla protein powder, 1 C vanilla soymilk, chopped apple, and walnuts). ¬†Other than that, I am not eating too many grains. ¬†And I am not giving up carbs entirely either. ¬†I kind of love them. ūüėČ ¬†I’m just making sure to reduce them and then pair them with more fat and protein.

One trap I have fallen into in the past is eating more protein without reducing carbs. ¬†That just results in more overall calories, which isn’t going to help anybody. ¬†Unless you are trying to gain weight, obviously.

Other eats:

Squash “pizza.” ¬†In reality this was actually a squash bowl stuffed with veggies, ground beef, and cheese. ¬†I cut it into little slices and ate it like a pizza though, which made it 10x more fun.

Really random lunch with two mini corn tortillas (which aren’t that good; I wanted wraps and thought these would be good since they were smaller, but they are dry), almond butter, carrots, and a protein cake (a la April) made with peanut flour and cocoa powder with PB.

Dinner was full of fat, veggies, and protein.   Exactly how I like it!  I used a base of pumpkin puree, topped that with ground beef/mushrooms/carrots and brussel sprouts/broccoli cooked in EVOO.  Enough to feed one small army OR one hungry Caronae.

I have heard a lot of different research about diets higher in proteins/fats. ¬†Some of what I have seen has indicated that a diet high in protein/fat, even of the saturated variety (think whole milk, meat, butter) is not harmful. ¬†I tend to agree with this with the caveat that people have very different metabolic/digestive systems with very different needs (I talked about my wants and needs with ¬†my diet in Monday’s post). ¬†I think that it isn’t animal fat or protein that’s killing us/making us obese, but processed crap full of chemicals, like candy bars and pop and snack foods.

I think that there is evidence on both sides of the spectrum, at the moment.  In my opinion, this just furthers my conclusion that different people are suited to different diets.

On the horizon the next few days: CRAZY INSANELY BUSY Caronae.  I promise to post before the marathon though.  Is anyone interested in tracking me/coming out to cheer and wants to know my number?

If so, email me!  I know a few bloggies have already mentioned that they would like to know, but I have lost track.  So please leave a comment/email me and I will let you know.

T-4 days!  Ahhhhhh!!!!!


Love Your Body Day And Therapy Thursday

Today’s Happy Note: Willow Smith and her song “Whip My Hair”. ¬†She uses her braids to fling paint. ¬†Enough said.

I got in my nine miles this morning!  And they were really, really sucky.  It was just one of those runs that I needed to push through, and I did.  I did three miles at tempo pace in the first half.  I was supposed to do three fast 800s in the second half but there was no way that was going to happen.  Part of the problem was that I was inappropriately dressed.  I have running clothes for 55 degrees and higher and 40 degrees and lower.  I can never seem to dress appropriately for that 15 degree gap in between.  Ugh.  I really should invest in some long sleeve tech tees.

Thank you everyone for your sweet comments yesterday! ¬†Every single one of them felt like a little gift in my inbox. ¬†I talked through a lot of it with L today, which was nice. ¬†I’ll share those thoughts at the end of the post.

First, in honor of yesterday’s National Love Your Body Day, I present you with 16 reasons why I love my body. ¬†[FYI: there are many more reasons why I don’t love my body; I’m not perfect. ¬†But I think that enumerating things my body does for me is not a futile exercise. ¬†It does remind me of the good.]

  1. It’s super bendy! ¬†I am seriously the most flexible adult ever. ¬†I can do the splits and get into pretty much any yoga position. ¬†I like this.
  2. My eyes are deep and dark and mysterious and nice.  I like how they fit under my eyebrows.
  3. I have really strong arms and can lift all kinds of things.
  4. My heart and lungs pulled me through my pulmonary emboli hospitalization this summer.  For that, I am eternally grateful to my body.
  5. I have nice hips for dancing.
  6. The skin on my hands is soft; I have good hand-holding hands.  USB tells me this.
  7. My spine and torso are very graceful — dancerly, I like to think
  8. In fact, I think I’m kind of good at dancing. I would love to be in a dance recital some day. ¬†Is that weird?
  9. My feet take a beating through running, but they forgive me.  Thank you, feet.  You work damn hard.
  10. I have great hair.
  11. My body has let me climb mountains in Mexico, hike through cloud forests in Costa Rica, and run up the stairs of the Eiffel Tower.
  12. I scar really easily and have some really unique, beautiful scars.  My favorite is on my right kneecap.  I like how scars tell important stories.
  13. My hands!  Oh, how much hands do for us.  I mean, come on, opposable thumbs?  How awesome can our bodies be?!?!
  14. My senses.  I have wonderful eyesight and hearing.  My senses let me interact with the world and respond in my own way, through sensory writing.  My senses help me create poems and prose and essays.
  15. Ribs. ¬†I like how they form a cage around my middle, protecting me. ¬†My body has ways of protecting and defending itself. ¬†That’s beautiful.
  16. We cannot forget my legs, obviously. ¬†They have carried me through three half-marathons, two ultramarathons, countless long runs, and hopefully, a marathon (soon)! ¬†They are strong and forceful. ¬†Sometimes they just keep going even when I don’t tell them to — when my mind is too exhausted to function, my legs have a way of working, regardless.
I have much to be grateful for!  What are you grateful for, at this very moment, in terms fo your body and its amazing capabilities?
Therapy Thursday
I think I’ll keep my therapy thoughts brief today (haha, am I even capable of that?). ¬†I don’t want to get into certain things. ¬†We spent a while talking about my anxiety surrounding the timeliness of our session and then we talked about how I characterize myself as “lazy” and then about how I operate, socially (how I make friends, how there have been some very lonely periods in my life). ¬†I told her about my first day at my second high school. ¬†I was a junior. ¬†It was August, 2005. ¬†I cried, recounting it to her. ¬†It broke my heart, looking back. ¬†But I was also crying happy tears about it — I was stubborn (I had this really geeky yellow lunchbox that I refused to give up; I spent the whole lunch hour walking around the school by myself on that first day, desperately wanting a friend) and held tight to my beliefs and identity. ¬†If that meant being alone, so be it. ¬†I think that in some ways I am better at being alone now — I manage it; it isn’t always a lonely alone. ¬†I will always be a person who needs her alone. ¬†I need to be by myself, often for long stretches of time. ¬†I can’t fathom spending time with friends every single day. ¬†One of the things I like best about USB is that he doesn’t fear being alone — he relishes it. ¬†He uses that time to unwind and rewire; it also means that we are comfortable not spending every single second together. ¬†I think that’s healthy.
I used most of the second half of the session to talk about my weight/body/health problems. ¬†For a pretty straightforward summary, see yesterday’s post. I liked that L was both tremendously compassionate and objective about it all. ¬†I actually just got an appointment with an endocrinologist today. ¬†We agreed that I will try that — and I will make a serious effort to try any diet variations or medications she recommends or have tests done — and move forward from there. ¬† As I was outlining my health problems to L, she said something like “having a chronic illness is hard; it’s not fun.” ¬†I looked up at her, started crying harder, and told her “I might be able to handle one, but having two is destroying me” — the clotting issue and the endocrine issue. ¬†Her face softened and she just said, “I wish so much that I could make it go away.” ¬† It was comforting. ¬†She was comforting.
And that is the honest truth — I don’t know how much longer I can handle having both of these things. ¬†It’s exhausting. ¬†I don’t know what takes precedence over the other. ¬†I am tired of scheduling follow up appointments and having my weekly blood draws and having heart echoes and breathing tests and living in terror that I’m clotting again. ¬†Seven doctors is more than any healthy 20 year old should have to face. ¬†It was actually kind of nice to just have that moment of complete breakdown and vulnerability with L this afternoon: I basically told her “I can’t do it.” ¬†And she acknowledged that. ¬†That was all I really needed out of today, I think.
I have to keep living one day at a time. ¬†The next few months will be full of visits to specialists and blood tests and endless round of medication trial and error. ¬†But in some sense, I’m already used to that. ¬†I feel like I will feel less burdened when I at least know that we are doing things to try and figure it all out. ¬†I like journeys. This feels like a journey to me. ¬†I’m trying to stay positive.
Goodnight friends!  Happy Friday to you all!

Medical Stuff, Part I

Today’s Happy Note: My run started out terribly and then miraculously turned wonderful! ¬†Love when that happens.

I had 11 miles of speedwork on the schedule, which I was not looking forward to.  It consisted of:

2 miles warmup @ GP (goal pace=10:00/mile)

3×2 miles @ tempo pace (9:00 miles) with four minute easy jog between each

3 miles cooldown @ GP

My body felt so swollen (more about that later in the post) during the first two miles that I thought I was going to have to call it quits. ¬†I was tight everywhere and could literally feel water weight all over my body. ¬†It’s a strange feeling. ¬†I am not sure if it has to do with my period/hormones, but I think it does. ¬†I haven’t had a period in almost two months and I can tell that my body feels weird not having cleansed itself — something is up.

But the tempo repeats ended up feeling great.  I sometimes wish I had a garmin, only for speed workouts really, though.  I am guessing they were between 8:30-9:00 per mile pace.

Yesterday we just had an orientation for the yoga class, so I did not get to do any yoga, sadly.  I did lift weights for 40 minutes though, and my arms felt dead afterwards (in a good way!)

Medical Talk

A bit of background: I was diagnosed with PCOS 3.5 years ago.  Most women with PCOS are overweight and do not have periods.  This was not the case for me, so for a long time, no one could figure out what was wrong.  When I was diagnosed, by a very clever gynecologist who works with my mother, I was put on birth control.  Over the years I have been on yaz, yasmin, and, most recently, ocella.  My PCOS seemed to be under control with the BC.  I reached a roughly stable weight and maintained within a five pound range up until this summer.

In July, I was hospitalized with multiple massive pulmonary emboli in the main arteries of each of my lungs.  I was hospitalized for three days.  Here I am in my hospital room:

Part I of the hospital stay can be found here.

Part II here.

Hormonal birth control (or any other hormonal treatment) can serve as a risk factor for clotting (pulmonary embolism means clotting that occurs in the lungs, which is very dangerous because it can cause you to stop breathing). ¬†Once you have a blood clot of any sort, you can never take birth control or other hormones again, unless you’re on some sort of suicidal mission. ¬†This has obvious implications for sex, but that’s not what I want to talk about. ¬†The problem for me is that the birth control was controlling my PCOS. ¬†Now that I have been off of it for two months, my body’s hormonal and endocrine systems (which are related) are going haywire. ¬†Literally haywire.

I had a really long appointment with the women’s doctor yesterday. ¬†She was extremely nice and helpful and seems like the first doctor who has ever really taken the time to figure out what might be at the root of my hormonal/endocrine problems.

For one thing, I am gaining weight uncontrollably.  I am eating only a little bit more than I was pre-hospitalization, only now I am training for a marathon.  I am running 40-50 miles a week, in addition to strength training twice a week and yoga twice a week.  I am an active, healthy young woman.  There is no logical reason for me to be gaining weight and not having a period, among other things.

Our bodies have many, many hormones, not just estrogen and progesterone and testosterone. ¬†Two of these other hormones are known as LSH and FH. ¬†I don’t know precisely what my levels of these homrones are (or even should be), but I do know that their ratio is 1:1. ¬†This is very bad. ¬†A normal woman has a 1:3 ratio and someone with PCOS has an even higher ratio (e.g, 1:5 or 1:6). ¬†A ratio of 1:1 is typically only seen in anorexic women or over-exercisers. ¬†I suppose marathon training could count as overexercising, but I think she was referring to thin over-exercisers who have lost so much body fat that it screws up their hormones.


The only conclusion at this point is that I might not have PCOS, but may have an adrenal or endocrine disorder. I will have to see a specialist in hopes of figuring out what exactly might be going on.  I know my body quite well, and it has never been more clear to me that something is awry.  It was subtle at first, but has gotten worse over the last few weeks.  I am worried, but I feel comforted by this latest doctor, who was extraordinarily thorough and compassionate.  She saw me for over an hour.

I may need to try a medication called Metformin, which would help my insulin resistance.  As far as I can tell, the only other non-hormonal treatment for PCOS is a low-carb diet.  Have you ever tried eating low-carb while running 40 plus miles per week?  Not fun.

I am scared and confused.  I want this to be over with.  I have a million other things to deal with right now.  I wish my body just worked the way it was supposed to.

In addition to all of that, I just found out that my INR (measure of the effectiveness of the anti-clotting medication) is only 1.5.  This is bad.  Very bad.  This means that I will have to gt my blood drawn every three days until we figure out what the correct dosage of the Coumadin should be.

So basically my life is really fun right now!  Okay, so that was a little bit sarcastic.  I do have many things that bring me joy though, and I am going to list them for two reasons.  First, because this post has been a total downer and second, because I need to cheer myself up a little bit.  Happy Caronae=Healthy Caronae!

Things that bring me joy right now:

Fresh fall apples

Baking on the weekends

Studying (aka not studying) with friends on weeknights, chatting, playing

USB (he is amazingly soothing and gentle)

My crazy professor (today I spent 75 minutes learning about how minute differences in wheat/barley vs. millett/sorghum/rice/teff cultivation changed the course of history — it literally is both fascinating and hilarious)

Blended grain “soups” (just had some for dessert with nut butter and dark chocolate, of course)

Crossword puzzles in the newspaper


Fall breezes/temperature drops (it’s my favorite season!)

Cuddling with USB

Bubble Tea


Books of all sorts

See, I’m not all negativity right now. ¬†Just mostly. ūüôā ¬†This post was actually originally intended to go in a completely different direction. ¬†Therefore, I am deeming it Part I of a two part series. ¬†The other part will happen tomorrow, and hopefully it will make a bit more sense where I’m coming from at that point.

Goodnight friends!

Chocolate And An Unhealthy World

Today’s Mini Goal: Get more sleep. ¬†I normally get 7-8 hours, but I’ve been exhausted lately. ¬†I usually doze off during at least one class, and am just physically so very tired all day. ¬†Maybe I just need more sleep because of all the running I do? ¬†Maybe I’m just weird?

I had planned on doing 7-8 miles today with a 5-6 mile fartlek thrown in there, but my alarm failed to go off at seven and it was eight by the time I woke up. ¬†I had class at nine, so I pushed the run back to my lunch hour. ¬†Then I was too tired to do anything at lunch besides stare at my computer screen in a semi-creepy stupor. ¬†So then I told myself I would go in the evening after work/more classes. ¬†This did not happen. ¬†I’m not mad at myself because I still plan on getting in my five training runs this week, but I don’t really understand why I’m so tired. ¬†I hardly ever take a day where I don’t do anything at all, so maybe my body’s just telling me that today’s the day for that…

Also, randomly, I did not want to take pictures today.  Like at all.  Like, I was mad at the idea of taking pictures for some reason.  I blame hormones.

I tried Jay Robb chocolate whey protein powder in my oats today and have a few comments:

1. I tasted no chocolate whatsoever.

2. The powder gave them a thicker, but also grittier, texture.  I did not appreciate this.

3. The bowl was no more or less satisfying than usual.

So, in conclusion, I see no point to it whatsoever.  For me, at least.  Are you a protein powder person?  If so, what kinds are good?

I’d love to try it in a smoothie and see if that’s any different. ¬†But I have no blender. ¬†This is a blatant request for one. ¬†If you have an extra blender lying around, you can send it my way ūüôā ¬†Oh, and mom, if you’re reading this, Easter is coming up and I have been a very good girl!

I wanted ridiculous amounts of chocolate today. ¬†My hand may have found it’s way into the DCD jar many, many times. ¬†That stuff is dangerous. ¬†I love keeping dark chocolate bars around because usually just a few squares will satisfy my sweet tooth. ¬†I had slightly more than usual today, but not an insane amount. ¬†I know that there is no scientifically proven relationship between chocolate cravings and my period, but I firmly believe that such a relationship exists.

Dark chocolate topped with dark chocolate dreams pb:

If you were thinking of adding more chocolate and/or more calories into your diet, this just might be the way to do it.

My only other picture:

Dinner: tasty pasta/veggie/meatball/cheesy mess. ¬†I hardly ever get take out or even eat out for that matter, but I walked by the student center on the way home and suddenly I absolutely had to have pasta for dinner. ¬†When I was little spaghetti was hands down my favorite food. ¬†It’s funny, because I hate tomatoes. ¬†I just pick them out of the sauce. ¬†We already established that I’m super weird though, so you shouldn’t find this too surprising.

Mini rant:

My school does a lot of things to try and help students be healthier; it has all kinds of fitness programs and nutrition information available, in addition to psychological resources, sexual health resources, etc. ¬†So they really do try. ¬†Why, then, do you have to ask for whole wheat pasta at the pasta station? ¬†Seriously, when you ask for whole wheat, they frown at you and slowly amble back to the fridge where they store the whole wheat version. ¬†I understand that this is an extra step for the tired cooks, but seriously, people, 95% of Americans know that whole wheat and whole grains are better options. ¬†Why can’t they just make the whole wheat version the standard option? ¬†It can’t be that much more expensive. ¬†I go to an Ivy League school. ¬†Neither my fellow students nor the administration is stupid. ¬†While I was in line today they actually ran out of the white pasta and people started groaning. ¬†No joke. ¬†They were legitimately angry. ¬†I am not trying to sound all high and mighty here, but I think that at this point in America’s health crisis, most people are well aware that grains are good and white is bad.

Another thing that annoys me: inappropriately massive portions. ¬†These are portions that might work for student-athletes training four or five hours a day, but they’re way too big for me, and I’m not exactly sedentary (I run 40+ miles most week…) ¬†The container pictured above is a size small, and I was starving and only ate aout two thirds of it, which was probably about two servings.

Sorry. Rant over. ¬†Sometime I forget how privileged I am when it comes to health; growing up, my parents splurged on lots of fresh produce, farmer’s market veggies, and other wholesome foods like fish, nuts, and grains. ¬†I grew up knowing that things from a package were alright on occasion, but that they weren’t what food was meant to be. ¬†I could eat Skittles if I wanted, but I knew full well that it was a treat and it wasn’t good for me. ¬†Do people actually believe processed foods are good for them? ¬†I’m genuinely curious here, because I just don’t understand people who don’t get it. ¬†My parents are doctors, so I was never really exposed to lots of things that are standard to many Americans. ¬†For example, until coming to college, I did not know that canned cranberry sauce existed! ¬†I also didn’t realize that people voluntarily ate white bread. ¬†What was your health like as a kid? ¬†Did you grow up with lots of processed foods or were you practically a food snob as a toddler?

I remember going on a trip with my poetry team (yes, I was geeky) to NYC when I was about 16 and being shocked that a fried chicken restaurant existed. ¬†All my friends wanted to eat there, but I just couldn’t. ¬†I had been raised to think that fried foods were never acceptable, and to be honest, I was afraid of stuff like that. ¬†I try to be a bit more open and less snippity now, but I still have my standards and there are definitely things my friends will eat that I won’t.


This is the last paragraph, I swear! ¬†So Lent starts tomorrow, and while I am not Christian, I will be giving something up — baked goods (including cookies, pastries, muffins, etc.) ¬†The only exception is if it’s something I already have (I hate wasting food). ¬†I like to do Lent simply because I find the idea of sacrifice to be very compelling, especially in a world where our lives are cluttered by so many unnecessary things. ¬†There are many things in my life that ¬†I do not need, and I like having this time to eliminate something. ¬†I find it cleansing.

Alright, I’m off to watch Lost. ¬†Have an awesome Wednesday!